CHILDREN STAR AT STORY FEST

Jan Robinson of the Americorps Health Corps made sure there was time for refreshments. With a host of activity stations and exhibits set up inside the Kauai Children’s Discovery Museum and in the courtyard of the Kaua’i Village shopping center, there appeared to be little time to stop and enjoy the refreshments, or to get hydrated in the rapidly-warming morning.

This was Robinson’s task, as she kept an eye on the refreshment table while making sure the sea of youngsters took time out from the wide variety of activities.

Kauai Children’s Discovery Museum officials waived their normal entrance fee so patrons to the Fourth Annual Kauai Keiki Story Festival could enjoy some of the many vendors who were set up in the activity room of the museum.

Bernie Sakoda and Arnold Fujii of the Warabi Ashibi program were just two of the many vendors in that section, Sakoda armed with a box of colorful papers and a supply of cardboard that children could convert into storybook covers.

Sophie Thom got help from her grandmother with that task, and, Sakoda said, she’ll have a lot of stories to write about to fill in the pages between the covers.

Sakoda explained that their booth was sponsored by Hui Alu Okinawan Club leaders, and was a part of the annual Warabi Ashibi day camp program held during the summer for youngsters wanting to learn more about the Okinawan culture.

Cathy Shanks of the American Heart Association had one of her volunteers on hand, this time not to do blood-pressure tests, but to review healthy lifestyles in books and literature geared for youngsters, some of whom stopped by following their early-morning soccer games.

Also on hand for the event was retired teacher and author Joyce Jenney, who had a plethora of children’s stories to relate from the pages of her “Teacher, You Have Beautiful Eyes” book that she also had available for sale.

Uncle Mark Jeffers made sure Russell the Rooster was on hand, and with Dr. Rob Zelkovsky manning the video camera, Jeffers will be featuring the event on an upcoming “Russell the Rooster Show.”

Jim Rosa, whose generosity made possible the tents for the outdoor area, was on hand before making his way up to the Kaua’i Interscholastic Federation cross-country races at the Kapa’a High School campus. Bridget Arume, who coordinates several family summits across the island, also had a similar agenda so she could watch her daughter race.

Activities, literature for and about young people, as well as representatives from agencies geared towards the young set abounded, as a guest performer from the Kapa’a All Saints Church called upon a bunch of children in doing a song in which children could act out “If I Was a Bee.”

Members of a total of 30 community agencies and organizations collaborated to offer a wide range of activities during the day-long festival, and the event was made possible through the help of leaders of community sponsors such as the Good Beginnings Alliance, The Storybook Theatre of Hawaii, Cold Stone Creamery, Kauai Kookie Kompany, Meadow Gold Dairies, Olympic Cafe, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, Wyland Galleries, and Read to Me International.

Committee members included Janice Bond, Frank Reilly, Anna Peters, and Jeffers.

Celebrity readers included Francesco Garripoli; Kaua’i County Councilman Mel Rapozo, who made the trip over to Hanapepe Stadium for the Lihu’e Pop Warner games following his story; state Sen. Gary Hooser, D-Kaua’i-Ni’ihau; Beth Tokioka of the county Office of Economic Development, who “read” using American Sign Language; and Wanda Shibata of the Young Brothers Community Advisory Board.

Col. Jerald Knudsen had his Kapa’a High School JROTC cadets split up, with half doing the presentation at the Special Olympics bowling tournament, and the other half presenting and helping at the story festival.

The Kaua’i Community College early-childhood-education students also volunteered for the event, along with members of the Rotary Club of Kalepa Sunrise, the Kapa’a High School Interact Club, the Rotary Club of Kapaa, and Jennifer Esty.

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